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Ten great camping escapes

Regional campgrounds offer a 'safe' place to leave the world behind

Courtesy US Forest Service
Photo credit: Courtesy US Forest Service
Dry Falls is located along the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway near Highlands and Cashiers.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing social distancing, camping has become one of the safe choices for people wanting a vacation instead of a staycation, allowing them to get out of their routine and into nature. Experienced campers may have their gear and be ready to go right away to the places on this list. However, for the new camper, forced by social distancing to "rough it" at a campground rather than book a hotel at their usual vacation destination, they may want to try sCAMPer Van, the campervan rental company based in Atlanta. In a sCAMPer Van, it’s usually best to pick a destination thats longer than a hour's drive so that you may enjoy the road while heading to your vacation spot. Below are 10 such destinations.


1. Nantahala National Forest

By far one of our favorite regional destinations, the forest offers everything for your outdoor exploration. From waterfalls, to rivers and lakes and dense forest trails, the Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina is sure to excite the adventurer in you.

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The Nantahala National Forest lies in the mountain and valleys of southwestern North Carolina. The park offers a wide variety of recreational activities from whitewater rafting to camping and over 600 miles of trails - good forhikers, mountain bikers, horse-back riders and off-highway vehicle riders... | more...

2. Pisgah National Forest

Another North Carolina destination, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah has amazing campgrounds throughout. Rocky Bluff and Davidson River immediately come to mind. With Pisgah having much of it’s land in Transylvania County, you are sure to spend countless hours swimming, sliding and playing in some of the most epic waterfalls you’ve ever seen.

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Pisgah National Forest is a National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. It is administered by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Pisgah National Forest is completely contained within the state of North Carolina. The ... | more...

3. Tallulah Gorge State Park

Just north of Atlanta, you’ll find this amazing destination. Tallulah Gorge is one of the most spectacular canyons in the Eastern US and sure to impress even the avid camper and hiker. Spending time just watching the kayakers is a worthwhile way to pass the time.

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From Explore GA: Tallulah Falls is a series of six waterfalls cascading down through Tallulah Gorge. Tallulah Station offers local artworks as well as warm cups of specialty coffees and sweets, including ice cream. Numerous hiking trails are close by, including the Shortline Trail, a 3-mile paved tr... | more...

4. Cloudland Canyon

Another Georgia gem, this destination in the northwest portion of the state has much of what you’d be looking for on a nice camping weekend: amazing trails, vies and waterfalls. Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest and most scenic parks in Georgia.

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Explore GA: Breathtaking views await! Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, this is one of the most scenic parks in the state, offering rugged geology and beautiful vistas. The park straddles a deep gorge cut into the mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek, and elevation differs from 800 to 1,980... | more...

5. Devils Fork State Park

This state park is just over the boarder in South Carolina. Along the eastern edge of the Sumter National Forest, Devils Fork is a beauty, however it is usually quite crowded. Try to determine its off times for your visit in order to really enjoy the beauty of the park.

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From Visit Greenville The park is popular with families, fishermen, scuba divers and boaters, who enjoy Jocassee’s uncrowded setting and spectacular scenery, such as waterfalls cascading into the lake off steep, wooded slopes. | more...

6. Bike Farm

HEY MOUNTAIN BIKERS: Want to enjoy Brevard, Dupont and Pisgah with some like-minded campers? Check out the Bike Farm in western North Carolina for the perfect beginning and end of your mountain biking experience.

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The Bike Farm: Our camp and guide services are in the heart of North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest. We access incredible trails from out our back door. You don’t have to ride bikes to fall in love with The Bike Farm. If you love the outdoors you've come to the right place. | more...

7. Edisto Beach

Want some beach camping? Edisto Beach, between Savannah and Charleston in South Carolina, has everything that you’re looking for when it comes to a beach vibe, including an amazing beach side campground that will take your camping trip to the next level.

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From edistobeach.com: Edisto Beach State Park offers campers 1255 acres of a maritime forest, salt march, and the beach itself. There are 113 camp sites, walk-in tent sites, seven rental cabins, and beach access for campers and day trippers.If walking miles of trails, exploring the beach, and starin... | more...

8. Ocracoke Island

Care to go a little further? Head up tp North Carolina and the Outer Banks with a trip to Ocracoke Island. It’s 16 miles of pristine undeveloped beaches with a ferry ride that the whole family will enjoy. Take the ferry north from Ocracoke and enjoy camping all along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

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Outerbanks.com: Standing apart physically and esthetically from all the other barrier islands of North Carolina's Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island is a combination of a quaint historic unincorporated village and undeveloped Cape Hatteras National Seashore. | more...

9. Jekyll Island

Need more beach ideas? How about a trip to Jekyll Island for a visit to Driftwood Beach. One of Georgia’s waterfront gems, this is a must see destination for any camper, novice or pro.

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From www.jekyllisland.com: Consistently voted one of America’s “Ten Most Romantic Beaches,” Driftwood Beach is an escape to another world. Ancient driftwood monuments line the waterfront, creating an unforgettable backdrop. | more...

10. Anastasia State Park

South from Jekyll Island, you can head down to Florida for some more epic beach camping at Anastasia State Park. Once we get live music back, you can take in some great shows at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre right across the street from the park.

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Florida State Parks: Anastasia State Park is a haven for visitors and for wildlife. Abundant wading birds hunt for food along Salt Run, including colorful roseate spoonbills. Osprey and eagles rule the skies, and painted buntings and warblers often flit about the hammock forests. | more...


These suggestions are primarily state parks or popular destinations. If you’re looking for something totally different, check out Hipcamp for some “out of the box” camping locations. From horse farms to organic farms, you’ll find unique camping opportunities.

Experienced campers may have their gear and be ready to go right away to the ten places listed above. However, for the new camper, forced by social distancing to "rough it" at a campground rather than book a hotel at their usual vacation destination, they may want to try sCAMPer Van, the campervan rental company based in Atlanta. In a sCAMPer Van, it’s usually best to pick a destination thats longer than a hour's drive so that you may enjoy the road while heading to your vacation spot. Book your next camping trip with sCAMPer Van and get 10% off your reservation when you type in "CLCAMPING" at check out.

David Clapper is the co-founder and CEO of sCAMPer Van. As such, he really knows his stuff when it comes to regional camping destinations. While he suggests use of his vehicles to camp at the destinations listed above, we at Creative Loafing have found that if you want to be like the Griswalds and make the trip in your own station wagon or SUV, the views are just as breathtaking.

Campground

Innovative camping solution - local Atlanta camper rental company. Great for biking, camping, festivals, kayaking, tailgating, adventure travel and all kinds of road trips. | more...